Some thoughts for consideration.
is far from dead. HF radio
sales around the world have leapt over the last ten years, since natural and man-made disasters made it clear that sophisticated satellite
and shore phone systems are not very resilient. And that satellite
phones create big monthly bills, which works against the desire/need to communicate in order to get information to help yourself, or to help others.
Maritime authorities, search and rescue
operations, natural disaster relief groups, aid agencies, small commercial
vessels, met offices and the military utilize more HF/SSB radios now than they did ten years ago.
The official communications
system for maritime distress
response co-ordination, used by all the official Maritime Rescue
Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs) around the world, continues to be based on HF/SSB radio
. If you plan to make offshore
passages and do not have a Marine
HF/SSB radio on-board, you are not linked into that system.
The free communication features of HF/SSB make it especially attractive for cruising in company or maintaining self-help skids amongst cruisers crossing oceans. Yes, there are fewer maritime stations on the air these days - serving the needs of big commercial
vessels - but that has actually freed up the HF/SSB frequencies for yachts and other small-craft to use. Your HF/SSB radio will help lower cruising costs and improve cruising safety
, for you and others.
The fundamental operating principles of HF/SSB radio and satellite phones are at two extreme opposite ends of the spectrum. Satellite phone
calls are designed to make someone a lot of money
from your need to communicate. HF/SSB radio calls are designed to be free. Satellite phone
services are based on private point to point calls; so fees
can be charged and profits can be made from your need to communicate. Marine
HF/SSB radio is based on the broadcast feature that allows everyone to listen to updates about weather, where to get cheap fuel
, port entry procedures etc, requests for advice about equipment
problems in mid ocean or requests for a spare part from another yacht; for free.
If satellite phones are the only comms system available for general or search and rescue operations, it may be necessary to dial hundreds of sat phone numbers to ask if they have the info or parts
, or are nearby to a vessel in distress
; and pay a lot of money
to do it. Asking via the HF/SSB radio can be done once, with everyone listening simultaneously, and it costs nothing.
When someone needs help mid ocean or in a beautiful isolated anchorage, communication via satellite phone means making decisions about how much money you are willing to spend to help them. What's your budget
for satellite phone fees
to help another mariner in distress, or who is being chased by a suspicious boat, or needs a spare part from another boat to stem the water
leak mid ocean?
Communication via HF/SSB radio to help other mariners - as you'd like them to help you if the need arises - does not require additional money mid ocean. You communicate for free. So helping others needs far less consideration.
Check these webpages for more info:
Brunei Bay Radio - Cruising this side of the world
Brunei Bay Radio - Marine Communications for cruising this side of the world; Pacific & Indian Oceans and SE Asia
Brunei Bay Radio - A marine communications solution for cruising the Pacific & Indian Oceans, and SE Asia.